August 3, 2017

Problems with the Alternator

  The alternator is a critical component to your vehicle’s operation. It only contains a few parts, but if the alternator starts to go, you may have issues with your vehicle. The alternator turns the mechanical energy of the engine’s rotating crankshaft into electricity through induction. The alternator also has wires that cut through a magnetic field that helps to induce the electrical current. The current is used to power the accessories in your vehicle like the headlights or radio. The alternator also helps to keep the battery fully charged to the power it needs to start the vehicle.     The typical warning sign there is an issue with the alternator is to have the light on the dashboard illuminate. This light usually looks like a battery when it lights up. The light is linked to the computer system within the vehicle to help monitor the voltage output of the alternator. Many alternators have an output between thirteen and fourteen volts that is maintained at a constant level. If you have numerous accessories turned on, like the radio, headlights, and others, the alternator will need to work harder to maintain the necessary voltage needed.     The alternator supplies the power for the vehicle’s electrical needs. If it begins to lose electricity, so do the accessories that need that electricity to run properly. There may be erratic symptoms in your vehicle that could range from dim or extremely bright headlights, to the radio stopping abruptly. Other accessories like the power windows may start to slowdown if the alternator is starting to lose its current.     A sign that the alternator may start to go out is any growling or whining noise that you might hear. Along with the crankshaft pulley, a belt helps to produce the power for the alternator. If the pulley or belt is out of alignment it can cause other parts to start to wear out. As this happens, noises may start to be produced as problems arise. The smell of burning rubber is also an indication that the alternator is faulty. This is because the belt is creating more friction and heat to send power to the alternator.     If the alternator begins to fail, the battery starts to work harder to make up for the difference. This can cause the battery to wear out quicker than it should. The vehicle’s battery is not designed for any long-term power use, and it may result in it becoming unreliable. If you are unsure if the battery is starting to fail, make sure to bring your vehicle in and we can inspect it to see what the issue might be.     The electricity from the alternator is sent through cables and wires. If these have any issues with the connections at either end, it can reduce or stop the electricity from getting through. This may cause the lights to get brighter as the alternator produces more energy to overcome the resistance of a bad […]
November 3, 2016

Care of the Battery this Fall

  Keeping your vehicle in the best working condition is important. This should include bringing it in for regular maintenance inspections. We can inspect the parts and components of the vehicle to ensure they are working efficiently and at top performance levels.   The battery should be inspected for any signs of corrosion. Check the terminals and the connections to ensure they are free of any build up or damage. If you notice that there is any build up of dirt and leaves, make sure to have it removed as soon as possible. This will allow you to have an efficient battery when it needs to supply the power to your vehicle.   Remember to notice how the vehicle is starting each and every time. If the vehicle becomes difficult to start, it could be a sign the battery is poor. If the terminals are loose or not securely tightened, it can result in issues with how the vehicle starts. Since there are several reasons why a vehicle may have a starting issue, it is always best to have us inspect it for you.   If you ever notice an issue out of the norm, make sure to bring the vehicle in so we can inspect it for the source of the issue. This can help prevent any further damage to the vehicle, helping it to last as long as possible.
September 8, 2016

Know why the Check Engine Light is Important

  Noticing any warning light that illuminates on the dashboard is important to be aware of. The light will correspond to an area of the vehicle where the issue is. If between visits you notice a light coming on, make sure to schedule an appointment as soon as you can. If the light starts to blink, turn the vehicle off when it is safe to do so. This can help prevent further damage being done to the vehicle. One of the lights that could come on is the service engine soon or check engine light. This is a symbol that looks like an engine. If the light comes on, it is important to not ignore it. When a check engine light is ignored for a long period of time, there could be extensive damage done to the vehicle.   The Purpose of the Check Engine Light   The check engine light is part of the emissions system of the vehicle. It was designed to alert you about emissions problems monitored by the computer. It became standard on vehicles in the 1980’s. Federal law actually mandates that all new cars sold in the United States have a check engine light. In addition to turning on the check engine light in your car, the computer also stores a code that identifies the source of the problem. This helps to allow the problem to later be identified by one of our technicians using a scanner. This same computer also controls and monitors vehicle performance, fuel mixture, ignition timing, regulates engine speed (RPM), and in some vehicles it even tells the automatic transmission when to shift.   What Causes the Check Engine Light to Come On?   There are some common things that cause the check engine light to come on. These things include a loose gas cap, faulty oxygen sensor, bad battery, alternator, baseline parts, hoses, and wires. Sometimes the cause of a check engine soon light is as simple as a gas cap that has not been properly secured. In this case, it is a simple fix to make the check engine soon light turn off. A second cause might be a faulty oxygen sensor. While a faulty oxygen sensor may be over diagnosed, it is still a common cause of the check engine soon light coming on in your car. The main purpose of an oxygen sensor is to examine the amount of oxygen in the exhaust system as compared to the oxygen outside of the system.   The Battery should be Inspected   The third possible cause of the check engine soon light coming on is a bad car battery. Have your car battery tested. Bringing the vehicle in can help determine if the battery is causing an issue with the vehicle. If a bad battery and alternator are ruled out as the cause for your check engine light coming on, we can do a visual inspection of your hoses and wires. This can help provide a safe and reliable […]
March 18, 2016

Alternator Issues to be Aware of

  When you own a vehicle, it is important to bring it in regularly for an inspection. This way we can inspect several of the parts, as well as the engine and alternator. The alternator is responsible for charging the battery when the vehicle is being driven. Having an efficient alternator can help to ensure that when the engine is turned off, the battery will be fully charged. This will then help increase the chances of the vehicle being able to start when it is turned back on. A bad alternator can lead to a variety of issues. This can range from a dead battery to poor illumination of interior lights and headlights. A poor alternator can also lead to a stranded vehicle if it fails.   Most every vehicle has a type of warning light that is located on the dashboard. It will start to illuminate if the alternator is not functioning correctly, or starts to go out. The warning light may often say “ALT” or something similar. If the alternator warning light does not turn off after a few seconds after starting the engine, it is an indication there is an issue. When starting the vehicle, the light will stay on for a couple of seconds automatically, which is normal. If the alternator warning light comes on and starts blinking, make sure to pull the vehicle over as soon as possible.   Another sign of a poor alternator may be if the battery continually dies after the vehicle has been sitting, it may be because the alternator is failing. The alternator should be charging the battery properly. If the engines turns over slowly and is difficult to start, the issue may be with the alternator. It could be an indication that the alternator is starting to fail and is not properly charging the vehicle as is should be. You may also notice dim headlights or interior lights may be an indication that the alternator is failing. There also may be the sign that the lights are not as bright as they typically are. No matter if there is an issue with the alternator, battery, or electrical system, bring the vehicle in for an inspection so the source of the problem can be corrected.